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Green Start, Great Finish: Tips for Success by Richard Howard – taken from Painting & Wallcovering Contractor, November 2009

Getting better performance from green coatings means more than buying the right product. It can also demand a shift in application usage, including curing times, open times, color density and film thickness.

Start by familiarizing yourself with the product’s technical data. “Read the MSDS and other technical data sheets, and learn what applications are appropriate for the product,” says contractor Daniel Macris, who uses green coatings exclusively in his business.

Contact the supplier or your sales rep if you need help: “They should be willing to work with you,” Macris advises. Above all, he adds, “follow the preparation and application instructions recommeneded by the manufacturer.”

Be prepared to learn some new application techniques. Low- and no-VOC paints tend to dry quicker, this allowoing shorter working times.

Keeping a wet edge requires care, according to Perry Foreman, of Diamond Vogel.

Avoid cutting in too long before roller or spray application, advises Casey McCormick, of McCormick Paint. One quick fix is to add small amounts of water to the product, says Mitchell Stevens, Parable Painting.

Trial and error
Keep an open mind about green paints, and experiment with roller naps and spray tips to find the “sweet spot” for applying each coating, says Rocky Prior, of Southern Diversified Products.

The easy cleanup and lower odor should make up for any initial awkwardness in application, according to Michele Margotta Neary, of United Gilsonite Laboratories. Surface preparation may require a new approach if using a green coating over a conventional product. “If a deck for example, has been previously stained with an oil-based product, you will need to take that coating off all the way down to the original bare wood in order to get the biggest benefit from using a green coating,” explaining Debbie Sek of T Paul Sek Eco-Friendly Painting.

Fortunately, she notes, there are a wealth of new green prep products as well.

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